Same school. Same team. New approach.
For many of us, COVID-19 has put our goals and plans on hold. If you’re reading this, it means that despite the crisis, you want to continue moving toward your goal of becoming a web developer. Making the decision to quit your job, go back to school, and launch a new career is a big decision at any time, but choosing to join Juno's Live Online Web Development Immersive Bootcamp during the pandemic is even more monumental.
This is why Juno is committing to full transparency with our graduates, current students, and prospective students about the impact COVID-19 is having on our community, and how we are responding to this new reality to ensure that, no matter what, we’re always supporting you in the best way we can.
The Labour Market
Right now, many companies that employ tech workers are dealing with losses in sales. Though there are lots of companies seeing an uptick in demand during the crisis, for others, the abrupt shift in their financial projections has affected their abilities to grow their teams the way they had previously planned, resulting in hiring freezes. In many cases, companies are also not able to afford to maintain their existing team, resulting in layoffs. These factors have resulted in fewer web development roles being advertised on job boards and, unfortunately in some cases, job losses for Juno Alumni.
It’s difficult for us to share that in the wake of the pandemic, 19 wonderful members of our alumni community have lost their jobs. We are in touch with these alumni and have been working to help as we can, and are happy to share that two of them have since been re-hired. We also want to note that, though there may be more alumni who have been laid off and not shared that with us, this current number represents less than 2.5% of our total Bootcamp graduates. This suggests something hopeful - that generally our graduates are in roles that make them quite resilient to layoffs.
If you are a Juno Alum and have been laid off from your job, or experienced a reduction in hours or pay, please get in touch with Chi-Chi, our Manager of Career Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we support you through this difficult time.
When thinking about the cohort that graduated a few weeks ago, or the cohorts graduating throughout the rest of 2020, we know that finding employment will be harder than it was in previous years. Any Bootcamp that tells you differently is lying or being unrealistically optimistic. Indeed Canada Hiring Lab reported a 32% decline in software development roles in the first few weeks of April from the previous year.
We do not take these stats lightly. Our Career Services Team has prioritized four key areas to work on with the evolving market: increasing job seeker support, accessing the hidden labour market, raising awareness of subsidies, and closely monitoring trends and changes.
1. Increasing Job Seeker Support
At Juno, our Career Services Team has always been focused on supporting recent Bootcamp graduates and alumni at every stage of the job search. Until March 2019, working with Bootcamp graduates on their job search was the responsibility of Heather Payne, our CEO and Founder. Since then, our team has grown to include Chi-Chi Egbo, our Manager of Career Services, and Shadya Abdulrahim, our Career Success Specialist.
In just a year, we’ve gone from part-time support for our graduates to full-time support from two very talented leaders in the Careers industry. The support our graduates receive today far exceeds the support we were able to offer in the past, and we’re always iterating on and improving these services.
We have moved the following services to Live Online offerings:
Career Labs: 4-week job search prep program
- Interview preparation: technical and behavioural
- Industry involvement with students
- In-depth job search strategies
- Applications of real-world methodologies
- White boarding and paired programming practice
Ongoing 1:1 Career Support
- Resume reviews
- Mock interviews
- Job referrals
- Tailored job search strategies
- Salary negotiations
We have also increased the number of weekly check-ins we have with our job seekers, added more 1:1 coaching appointments for laid off alumni, and are delivering virtual events such as Lunch and Learns and Ask Me Anythings led by experienced industry professionals to keep job seekers engaged and connected to the Juno community.
In this trying time, we know there will be instances where job seekers need a break from looking at job boards. In the past month, the Career Services Team has flagged and shared over 65 junior to intermediate developer positions for Bootcamp graduates, so they don’t miss an opportunity, even when they need to sign off or recharge.
Graduates outcomes and high placement rates is the backbone of Juno. Our Summer 2019 cohort was at 67% placement on December 26th, three months after graduation (just below our target of 70%). Our Fall 2019 cohort was only at 45% by April 2nd, three months after graduation. To us, this is an early signal that graduates seeking a job in this climate are going to have a harder time.
Though placing every graduate in a full-time position is the end goal, we realize that it could take more time than what we are accustomed to for some graduates. While we will continue to flag full-time opportunities, we have also increased our focus on remote work, freelance projects, part-time work, contracts, and internships in our graduates' job search strategies. We want our graduates to have real-world experience on their resumes quickly to help them stand out on applications and in interviews, and that experience is valid whether it is remote, freelance, part-time, contract, an internship, or full-time.
All of these experiences will help our grads gain experience, which will get them ready for exciting full-time roles in the near future. We’re excited to share that the integrated approach is working. In the past month, seven graduates have received job offers and a handful have freelance contracts.
2. Accessing The Hidden Labour Market
Since 2014, over 800 web developers have entered the workforce through our Bootcamp program. Juno has spent many years building our network and encouraging companies to hire our Bootcamp graduates. While we acknowledge that many companies have implemented hiring freezes, we also know this is not the case for every company that has hired Juno graduates.
Our Career Services Team has doubled down on an outreach strategy which involves contacting employers that have hired our graduates in the past. The goal is to source as many work opportunities and paid projects as possible. From sending profiles of job seekers directly to companies to helping graduates craft effective pitch emails to potential employers, we are focused on uncovering jobs that are not posted online and being the first ones in employers’ inboxes.
3. Raising Awareness of Subsidies
With so much fiscal intervention from our governments, it can be almost impossible to keep up. However, it is important that our students, graduates, and employers are aware of these subsidies. As financial support programs are created by Canada’s leaders, we review their requirements to determine the eligibility of our students and graduates.
Our Career Services Team has also integrated wage subsidies into Juno’s outreach efforts. We inform companies of wage subsidies they can access to hire our graduates, and partner with provincially and federally funded job development programs that work with employers to hire talent at subsidized wages. We also encourage job seekers to inform companies that they have access to a wage subsidy in their cover letters. This tactic recently helped a job seeker secure a development role at a fantastic company with a $15,000 wage subsidy.
If you're interested in learning about the wage subsidies available to help your company hire Juno graduates, please reach out to Chi-Chi, Manager of Career Services, at email@example.com.
4. Closely Monitoring Trends and Changes
The only way for Juno to make the right decisions and execute the best strategies for our graduates is to remain up to date on changes taking place in the labour market. We monitor job boards, read in-depth reports, follow Canada’s leading economists, and engage with HR professionals at virtual events and in invite-only community groups. As a team, we discuss reported trends daily, so we hear about layoffs or which companies are hiring before others do. No matter what is happening, we will be informed.
Young people need more career support than ever - and we’re here.
At Juno, our mission is to help young people get ahead and the fact is, young people have never needed us more. The COVID-19 crisis is disproportionately affecting jobs commonly held by young people - the restaurant and retail industries are on lockdown, travel and hospitality is on pause, artists and musicians are struggling, and the gig economy has definitely been hit. These are all industries of the young.
They also happen to be industries we have a long history with at Juno. Going back to our founding, our students have often come to us from these industries, in search of careers with stable hours, more potential for creativity, opportunity for advancement, or any other of the numerous reasons our students come to us. We’ve always been able to help - and we aren’t stopping now.
We know, moving into a new career is a daunting task. Especially now. We cannot predict what will happen and when the pandemic will end, but we can commit to supporting Juno students, graduates, and alumni during this difficult time and beyond. The support our grads receive from Career Services is going to help them stand out, making their transition quicker and as easy as possible. To us, delivering a high impact job seeker experience and supporting our students will always be our priority.
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